Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day Two- Crossing Wyoming, Finding Dixon-the town- and Spectacular Scenery

We made it out of Evanston sometime around 10:00 am after putting a little gas in the car (way little compared to the old bad habits of our SUV.  (Well, we DO live in Idaho and use it for hauling various kinds of outdoor gear.)  After some wandering around, we found the local grocery store to stock up.  Dixon observed that the Idaho State Prison has more windows than Evanston High School.  

And onward we drove.  We spotted a sign referring to a historic site in Green River, so decided to check it out.  Turns out it was in the city park, the original City Hall.  But the park is actually really nice.  I'd recommend it as a picnic stop and a place to let your kids blow off steam.  
Hard to beat the setting of the Green River, Wyoming City Park.  

The greenbelt section running through the park is dotted with lovely swing benches, along the river. 

A whitewater park is supposed to be here, but river flows have pretty much obliterated all of the features.  Pretty hard to run a kayak under this bridge right now.   All the way through Wyoming and NW Colorado, we could see rivers near or just above flood stage.  And there's still a lot of snow at higher elevations. 
 When you drive across southern Wyoming, you quickly realize what a long drive you have ahead.  I commented to Dixon that it must have been daunting to come across that plain in a covered wagon.  He replied, "It's daunting coming across in an air-conditioned car at 70 mph on a paved highway."

Usually, when we travel I  like to test the local food and skip the chain restaurants.  Sometimes the only available choices appear just a little sketchy.  We opted for Subway at Wamsuter, WY instead of the other local option across the street.

In Utah, this might be called an oxymoron.  
The Subway was housed in a truck stop where we could watch the freeway fashion parade.  The woman somewhere in her 50s wearing Daisy Dukes and a lot of tattoos on her leg made me wonder how someone nabs those photos of the Shoppers of Walmart without getting killed.

A bit further east and we dropped south onto Hwy 789 toward Craig, Co, just so we could take a 14 mile detour and find Dixon, Wyoming.  Naturally, you-know-who went a bit crazy taking photos of buildings with his name on them.  But, Dixon is actually a charming little place set in a lovely valley with the Little Snake River running through it.
Population 79. 

One of the few buildings in Dixon, WY not named Dixon.  This is the Episcopal church.  

We wanted to stop in Craig, but we could see the clock moving toward afternoon and time began to be a factor.  The town of Craig is loaded with charm.  Nice shops, quaint buildings and flowers in the downtown area.  The place was crawling with tourists.  It is a gateway for a lot of river recreation but we aren't sure whether anyone is getting out on the rivers, with the flows being so high.  As we drove along the Yampa River, it was over its banks in places.  We wondered what the Green River looks like down in Desolation Canyon.  

From Craig, we drove to Steamboat Springs.  It is a resort town.  It was very, very crowded.  Enough said.  FM Light & Sons had enough yellow hand-lettered signs strung up along the highways approaching Steamboat that we were definitely disinclined to visit their establishment.  Light & sons tacked up so many of their signs on junkyards along the way, we at first thought it was a Sanford & Son gig, but it became clearer they were selling clothing and stuff.  When we left town and their sign demanded that if we hadn't shopped with them, we should turn around and go back to Steamboat, we decided they were more than an annoyance.  A nuisance.
From there...Hot Sulfer Springs.  Dixon said it sounds painful and smelly.
Driving toward Grand Lake, CO and the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

The lake.  
We stopped in Grand Lake to have dinner and to decide whether or not to push on.  After a nice meal at the Sagebrush BBQ and Grille, we felt refreshed enough to make the decision to go ahead through the park, even though it was getting late.  We figured we would have enough daylight to see the views at the top even if we had to drive out in the dark.   We knew we the likelihood of finding lodging for the night anywhere close to the park gates at Estess Park would be ridiculous on a holiday weekend.   We forged ahead anyway and found spectacular scenery, quite a lot of snow at the top, close up views of elk herds and a sense of awe.  This is one of the prettier parks we've visited.  Definitely worth it.  And the sunset hour makes the light spectacular and the elk viewing enhanced.

Just as Dixon was ready to take a shot, this guy drove right into  the shot.

So if you're from Oregon and recognize this guy's face, car and license plate number, let him know he's gained some notoriety for being a goof who wanders into the scenic photos of other tourists.  Just sayin' 

We got out of the park fairly late and, by the time we found a hotel, it was extremely late.  So, yes. we're a bit behind on the blogging.  Catching up a bit tomorrow--maybe.  Except that there are things along the way we want to see.  At the same time, we are barely into Kansas tonight.  (More about that after we cover Denver, Eastern CO and well...Western Kansas.
Independence Day is tomorrow.  Yayyyyyyyy!!!!